El Paso Firme: A Day of Cultural Resistance Against White Supremacy

Photos: Sarah M. Vasquez

Photos: Sarah M. Vasquez

By Sarah M. Vasquez

Hundreds of people gathered Saturday night at Ascarate Park in El Paso for a day of cultural resistance against white supremacy. It's been a month since a 21-year-old white male traveled from a suburb north of Dallas to the border city and opened fire on Mexicans, killing 22 people and injuring 24, at the Wal-Mart at Cielo Vista Mall.

The Border Network for Human Rights, RAICES and National Day Laborer Organizing Network co-organized the September 7 event that was free for the public to exercise collective compassion and solidarity through an evening of music. Speakers shared personal stories and testimonies of seeking asylum or dealing with family separation at the U.S./Mexico border. El Pasoans Guillermo Glenn, an activist who was in Wal-Mart during the shooting, and Ron Stallworth, an African-American retired policeman whose experience of infiltrating the Ku Klux Klan was adapted for the big screen last year, both shared words of encouragement to the crowd. Cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz gave away signed prints of his work near the front of the stage in exchange for a donation to one of the present organizations.

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The assortment of Latino acts, including Guatemalan hip-hop singer Rebeca Lane, Grammy-winning La Santa Cecilia, French-Chilean musician Ana Tijoux, the sharply-dressed Los Frontera de Cuidad Juarez, Mexican sisters Dueto dos Rosas and the beloved Mexican-American singer Cuco, performed with a view of the U.S./Mexico border fence on one side of the stage and the Franklin Mountains on the other. The event felt like a family gathering. There was plenty of food and aguas frescas. People would, at times, get up from their chairs or blankets to dance. After the sun set for the evening, The Star on the Mountain - the same defining star used as the symbol for “El Paso Firme” or “El Paso Strong” shined bright from a distance.

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Border Network for Human Rights [Website]

RAICES [Website]

National Day Laborer Organizing Network [Website]